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“You mean this isn’t non-dairy creamer?” ~ Parker

News! (04/05/2003)

  • Chapters removed during revisions posted.

WASTELAND OF FLINT (Chicuacen Tonatiuh) is an SF/mystery novel set in a moderately high-tech future. It focuses on the adventures of Gretchen Andersson (a human xeno-archaeologist), Green-Hummingbird (an Imperial political officer) and Lieutenant Commander Mitsuharu Hadeishi (commander of the Imperial Méxica Navy light cruiser Henry R.. Cornuelle) as they attempt to rescue a stranded archaeological expedition from the planet Ephesus III.

The background setting is an alternate history – the Méxica (Aztec) Empire rules humanity from Anahuac (Earth) – in a dangerous universe filled with hidden inhuman powers. Humanity is only a minor space-faring species on the fringe of a ferociously political arena where ancient and enormous alien empires are engaged in millennia-old struggles for supremacy.

Both Gretchen and Mitsuharu share deficiencies of birth in Méxica society.

Gretchen comes from an exiled Swedish family; their nation destroyed by the Méxica in the final struggle for control of Earth itself. Mitsuharu is born to an ancient Japanese clan, but while the Nisei nation is an old and respected ally of the Méxica, the Hadeishi are only a poor and ill-connected clan. Mitsuharu is the first military officer from his family in generations, though the Hadeishi are a samurai clan. Without political patronage or allies among the ranks of the military orders (the Jaguar and the Eagle knights), it seems very likely that Mitsuharu will be a small-ship commander for his whole career.

Clan and family govern social position and careers within the Empire, with the Emperor and the Imperial Family forming the core of an intricate web of blood-ties and clan alliances. Though there are powerful non-Méxica clans (such as the Scottish and Irish families which allied themselves with the Méxica during the wars of conquest in Britannia and Europe), the vast majority of high positions are held by nobles drawn from the seven Imperial clans and their cadet branches. Caste status within the Empire is also defined by owning land upon Anahuac itself, particularly within the confines of old Mexico.

Grechen Andersson

RimWorld Ventures xeno-archaeologist. Middling height, short blonde hair. Graduate student from the “big” University on New Aberdeen. A specialist in forensic xeno-archaeology. Cheerful and pleasant to be around. Unexpectedly in command of the Company’s relief mission to Ephesus III.

Gretchen is the sun that rises in the East, bright and full of hope, inexperienced but seeking to learn of the world, her raiment fresh. Though this is a traditionally male role, here the depiction is reversed. For her, Green Hummingbird is emblematic of the whole Imperial system holding down the conquered nations and stifling science, learning and exploration

Green Hummingbird

A wiry, bald old man – an Imperial race Náhuatl from the ‘Center’ (the valley of Mexico, born in the priestly city of Texcoco). The descendant of a very famous Aztec judge. He is the political officer of the Cornuelle and a tlamantine, or wise man – the ignorant would call him a nauallis, a sorcerer. This is not to say he can perform magic, but he is privy to knowledge about the universe that the Imperial government keeps from the common people and even from its own scientific community.

Green Hummingbird (Huitziloxoctic) is the sun that sets in the West, world-weary but filled with knowledge, struggling to keep from falling into darkness, though the hostile stars tug at his tattered robe. Traditionally this role is female, but here (as for Gretchen) the depiction is reversed. For him, Gretchen is a truly dangerous youth recklessly seeking to plunge headlong into matters and knowledge which could destroy her, him and the Empire itself. He knows too well how deadly the universe can be.

Chu-sa Mitsuharu Hadeishi

The commanding officer of the Henry R. Cornuelle, an Astronomer-class light cruiser assigned to anti-piracy patrols in the Hittite sector. In an equivalent modern naval rank, he would be a Lieutenant Commander. A short, slightly built Nisei (Japanese born in North America) with stringy back hair, a neat beard and mustache. His family is from New Yedo (our Seattle) on Anahuac (Earth). Wry, soft-spoken and confident, he and his ship are entrusted with carrying Andersson and her Company relief mission to Ephesus III. Unlike many of his fellow officers, he is entirely content with his honorable position and command.

Mitsuharu is the sun reaching its zenith in the South, which is the domain of war (the god Huitzilopochtli) and the great enemy of the Four Hundred Southerners (the demons of darkness and the underworld). Mitsu’s pursuit of the Turan is the contest of the ball court (the tlachco) as the sun descends into the underworld during the passage of night and – at last, rises victorious, restored and reborn.

Captain Tristan Ketcham

Commander of the Apex Cartel mining and refinery ship Turan. An old, bitter and antagonistic man who nurses an abiding hatred for the Empire and its social systems. Ketcham was once an Imperial Navy captain, but he left the service in disgust, his advancement stymied by political enemies and his unfortunate birth. He comes from a long line of German-Danish military officers. The Aztecs destroyed old Denmark in their final victory. Like the Swedes, the opposition of Denmark to the Méxica conquest means their families and clans are not related (in any way, usually) to the Emperor or the Seven clans, and thus are outside of the political center.

Captain Ketcham is the absence of the Sun in the North, where there is only darkness, death and flinty wasteland. He represents the Four Hundred Southerners and their great champion, the planet Venus (Turan – from the Etruscan), which always challenges the Sun.

Read the first three and a half chapters of WASTELAND OF FLINT.

The first version of the Wasteland of Flint book proposal. The plot and characters have changed substantially between this version and the actual book, so you may find it interesting to see where WoF started, as opposed to where it wound up!

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